The holidays can be stressful enough without the added burden of trying to avoid becoming a theft victim. Our friends with the Brown County Sheriff's Department just sent out a statewide alert telling us of a new twist on an old scam. The Sheriff's Department knew that folks could use this alert to help keep their finances safe.
In mid-November a credit card skimmer was found on a card scanner in a retail store in Howard, Wisconsin. It's not yet known if the device was able to capture sensitive customer information. In this case, the thieves replaced the actual keyboard of a credit card reader with a bogus device. The original touch screen of the card reader was left in place making it a little harder to detect. The device is pictured below.
What can you do to detect a credit card skimmer? Take a good look at the card reader before swiping your card. All of the parts of the housing should fit together well and the color and texture should match. Give a little tug. The reader should feel snug with no loose housing parts. Take a look at the credit card readers in other checkout lines. The one you are about to use should look just like all the others. Trust your senses. If it doesn't look quite right, use a different one and let the retailer know your suspicions.
We have seen various skimming devices in the Madison area in the recent past. The type of device found in Brown County is just the latest in techno-crime but it is not known if it has shown up here...yet.
Neighborhood Resource Officer